Friday, April 27, 2012

it's the little things, 4.27.12

Bubbles at the park (no-spill bucket is amazing!)

Got 4 days of exercise in and feeling great!

Child labor

What mama and Juliet do while Audrey is napping: piggyback rides!

Audrey is able to stand in her crib now! Oh my! Time to lower that mattress. She is all over the place now.

Gary loves me, and knows how to make me happy. He came home with all these on a whim. Guilty pleasure.

Monday, April 23, 2012

gardening & grief

Gary and I planted our summer garden this weekend. It was a lovely way to spend time together as a family- working hard, and getting dirty in the sunshine. I'm grateful that Gary works really hard to make our yard a happy place for our family. And Juliet loved it. I can't wait for my summer tomatoes, my very favorite of the summer crop. We also tried a couple new things this year- I'm eager to see if the corn does well.

As I pulled out our supplies from the garden shed, I found a big bag full of seeds, with a note attached from my mom. My mom- the organic gardening queen, who was raising her own vegetables, fruits, and even chickens, decades before it become hip and chic. Ahead of her time in her own special ways. When I worried and grieved that she hadn't been able to leave anything behind anything special for us, for me, I was wrong. It didn't come in the expected way, but this is what she left behind- a note that was 3 years old, but came at just the right time.

I miss her to the deepest depths of my soul. I feel the grief creaking in my bones like an unwanted visitor tip toeing up an old staircase.  It makes my stomach drop to the floor.

This garden, and every garden that Gary and I plant, is in her memory and her honor, and so my daughters will have a little piece of their grandma in their backyard. It's a special place. A sacred place.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Baby & Toddler Product Recommendations

It's always nice to swap tips with moms on what's working well for them. So, these are some products I am enjoying for my little ones these days. What's working for you?

I'm doing a mix of Baby Led Weaning (read about it here) and commercial purees for Audrey. I'm sticking with organic foods as much as possible, and I absolutely love these. They taste like something that I would actually want to eat, instead of a jar of mushed peas (yuck). Even Juliet loves them and they both enjoy sucking them right from the pouch (no spoon or bowl for mama to clean- works for me!).

These always come in handy when Audrey needs a distraction. I prefer them to the other Puffs, although they are all about the same nutritionally (i.e., mostly air). They are frequently on sale at Babies R Us, which makes them about the same cost as the non-organic ones.

Juliet has cute, wide toddler feet. They are too wide to fit in most shoes, which is a little bit of a bummer because I can't buy her cheap ones from Target. See Kai Run shoes work perfect for her feet, and the company specializes in fitting shoes for the typical toddler foot (wider in the toe). They are adorable and high quality, and worth the extra cost. The ones below are Juliet's favorites, and the *only* shoe she will wear. She can put on her own shoes now, and it's the first thing she does when she gets out of bed in the morning!
I love these zipper pajamas for my girls. They are cotton and the perfect weight for sleeping comfortably with our thermostat set around 73 (is that a normal temp to set it at? I don't know but it works for us!). The Carter's fleece pajamas work well for winter, but I favor these the rest of the year. And I prefer pajamas with footies unless it's really, really hot. Children's Place often has sales, and I bought Audrey some the other day for $9.

And- what I do NOT recommend:

If you're thinking of ordering anything from for your kids- DON'T. I ordered Juliet a pair of shoes (Crocs! With the idea that she can slip them on easily herself...)over a month ago and they have yet to arrive. I doubt they'll still fit her growing feet at this rate! I've ordered from them twice and it's taken over a month each time. Not worth the mediocre savings.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

8 months of Audrey

Dear Audrey

You turned 8 months this week. This has been a big month for you. After months of teething, two bottom teeth broke through at the same time. You use these tiny little white nubs to chew through an amazing assortment of foods. I even gave you a bit of a peanut butter sandwich at the park yesterday and you mastered that like a champ. You know, I'm not supposed to give you peanut butter until your 1st birthday in the rare case that you might have a peanut allergy. I guess that is the thing about being a second child- mama is a little more relaxed this time around. For the record, you're not allergic.

You have also become very active this month, reaching and grabbing for everything in sight. When I wash the dishes, I leave them to dry on the counter top. Well, that may not be the best of ideas anymore because a few times this week, I've been holding you in the kitchen while attending to important chores (okay- let's be honest. I was making myself a vanilla latte on my home espresso machine. An essential item for any mother of 2 under 2!). In a split second, you reach for the drying dishes on the counter- you've knocked over a couple bowls, and also grabbed for the butcher knives! Yikes. Don't worry, mama thankfully has fast reflexes and grabbed your hand in time!

You started crawling this week, and also pulling up on your crib and play table. It's still a hesitant crawl, and you get very frustrated when something is just out of reach, but you're officially mobile. I used bribery to encourage you to move, by placing forbidden items just out of reach. You love my iPhone, in particular, so that works well as a bribery item, as do those baby snacks that look and taste like they are just re-packaged Cheetos.

You continue to be a content and easygoing baby. Yesterday at Target, no less than 4 people gushed, "What a HAPPY baby!. You were sitting in the shopping cart and grinning from ear to ear at everyone as they passed. And then we came home, and your grandpa had dropped by the house to say hello. You sat at the kitchen table with him while I put away the groceries, and giggled and played, and my heart felt like it might burst right out of my chest.

I love you, my sweet Audrey, forever and ever.

love, mama

Friday, April 20, 2012

Look who's crawling!!

A mobile baby! Oh, baby, I'm going to be on my toes now!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!
All is well. The girls are just keeping me busy, so no time to write more. Must go investigate what sorts of choking hazards are within reach!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

who is your doppelganger?

OK, so my sister has a really fun blog post today. Seriously, you should go check it out.

In the spirit of her post, I thought I would share this little gem with all of you. Jamie linked to a site that supposedly finds your celebrity doppelganger. I uploaded a photo of me holding Audrey.  Here are the results!

Rachel McAdams....hmmmm, I don't see it, but she's gorgeous so I'll take it! (much better than the only person I've gotten repeated "You know who you look like?" comments about...Celine Dion...grrrrr...)

But Oprah is Audrey's doppelganger....really, now?! LOL LOL LOL!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

spring cleaning

I've been doing a bit of spring cleaning today. Watching an episode of Hoarders is always good motivation to make a big donation pile for Goodwill, isn't it?

I pulled out a box of old clothes that's been hanging out under our bed. Summer clothes that I packed away before we moved to Seattle, and had no use for because it was too cold up there. And then I got pregnant and had no use for them because I got ginormous, and then I got pregnant again. So finally I was able to try them on, and tada! I was pleased to find that they all still fit, or were even a bit too big.

But to Goodwill they go- because the clothes that I found perfect and fashionable in 2006 to wear in the summer heat of Cabo San Lucas when I lived/worked there, don't quite work so much for a suburban mom of two in her early 30s.

For example, witness: the coral tube top and ruffled mini skirt combo. Farewell, single girl clothes from the mid-2000s...and may you find a good home. :)

I also have been going through old photo files on my computer to clear up some space on my hard drive. Spring cleaning of a different sort. Oh, boy, what a trip down memory lane! It wasn't so long ago that Juliet was this little, and when Anna the dog was still by our side, but it feels like a lifetime ago.
I miss Anna.

My beautiful firstborn baby. Juliet, 6 months

 I still remember this face, though! haha

Friday, April 13, 2012

it's the little things, 4.13.2012

It's the little things during the week that make it all so special. Here's the roundup from the week.

Juliet started Easter Sunday in a fluffy, fancy dress. This is how she ended it :)

Juliet, getting chased by her Daddy in the park and tumbling in the grass

Proud of my little muscles that I'm working hard for! Don't make fun of me for taking this picture! haha

A day at the farm, picking strawberries and tasting all the delicious organically grown vegetables
Sisters. Matching outfits, picked out by Juliet!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

grief, worry, and why I take so many pictures


Easter was a really hard holiday this year. My mom's absence just pierced me to the core.

On the eve of Easter, Gary and I put the girls to bed as usual. I nursed Audrey to sleep and laid her gently down in her crib. And then Gary and I knelt at Juliet's bed and prayed our bedtime prayers with her, blowing kisses as the door shuts behind us.

Once the girls were asleep, I slipped away to the grocery store to pick up last minute items for the snacks I was bringing to my aunt's the next day. And my grief for my mom overwhelmed me. I sat in the parking lot of Albertson's by myself and wept. I collected myself enough to go in the store, but then found myself weeping as I walked down each aisle of that same store that my mom used to shop in for holidays so often.

I miss my mom. I want her here to watch my girls grow.I want her to delight in them and hold their chubby little hands. I want her here to tell me I'm doing a good job, that I'm a good mother and that she's proud of me.


I've been starting to have some aggravating carpal tunnel in my wrists. It's nothing to write about, except that my mom also suffered from carpal tunnel for several years. I have so much of my mother's genes in me and the carpal tunnel is just another reminder. I look in the mirror every day and I see the same deep crease between my eyebrows that my mom had in hers, until death came and smoothed her wrinkles all away. I worry that my body will betray me like hers did. I do not want to die my mother's death, nor do I want my children to ever go through what me and my sisters did.

why I take so many pictures:

Because my children are cute, of course. Every mother thinks that her children are far more adorable than any other child.

But also because I want these reminders that I am here, alive and happy with my children. And when I am someday gone, I want them to have piles and piles of photographs so that if they ever need a reminder, they will know that I loved them desperately, that I held them and cherished them and delighted in every moment of being their mother. 

Random LOL of the day

Also: I just walked into my house after a morning out at my MOPS group. I literally thought to myself, "OMG! My house has been ransacked! We've been robbed"! And then I realized...No. We haven't been robbed. My house is just a mess with clothes, toys, and random things strewn everywhere. Yikes! It's definitely time to hire that housekeeper.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

it's the little things: easter edition

The Easter bunny dropped these off early for me to hang on to for my girls ;) Holidays are so much fun with kids! The downside is that I just ate 3 Cadbury Creme eggs in about 2 seconds time I'll ask the Easter Bunny to skip the candy, for my sake!
Chopped off several inches of hair. It feels good.
Easter Egg Hunt #1
Easter Egg Hunt #2
A night out with my BFFs. 17 years of friendship and a lifetime more.

And of course, the little thing that is really a BIG thing: the sleep training with Audrey is working! She slept through the night for the first time ever, this week! The next night didn't go quite as well, but things are improving in general and moving in a positive direction.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A mother relating to her child in the private intimacy of her home, with no audience but unseen angels, is the predominant influence for all that is good and decent in the world. ~ 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Night 4

Night 4 of Audrey's sleep training was a success! Waaaaahooooooo!

She went to bed at 6:30 pm in pajamas and a light sleep sack (no swaddle). Yes, this bedtime may seem early to some but she has clearly indicated that anything past 6:30 is too late. She woke at 11:45 pm to nurse, went back to sleep easily after that. Woke again at 2:30 and cried for about 5 minutes. I didn't go in to soothe her and she fell back asleep. Slept from 2:30 until 6:35 am.

Let me repeat that. She slept from 11 pm until 6:35 am, except for a 5 minute little complaint session at 2:30.  This is huge. I hope that night 5 goes as well!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Which celebrity mom are you?

Well, I caught myself in a lie. I decided that talking about celebrities on this blog is a little bit fun.

Let's talk celebrity moms. Which one are you?

A quick google search shows that there are a zillion quizzes you can take to find out. Here are a few:
Lifetime , Babycenter , Baby Zone , Chicago Tribune , Ladies Home Journal

But since this is my blog, I'll make up my own. Here are a few celeb moms that come to mind. Which one do you relate to most, admire, or secretly envy a bit?

Jessica Alba- Hands on mom who always looks fashionable and put together, even for trips to the park.

Tina Fey- Funny, pretty, and Creator of a hit TV show, and she has a couple kids too, that she manages to keep out of the spotlight since I barely knew she had kids.

Miranda Kerr- Victoria's Secret model. Had an unmedicated birth of a 9+ lb baby, and posts pics of breastfeeding her baby on twitter.

Angelina Jolie- She is quirky for sure, but clearly has a heart for international adoptions and a large family (there are at least 2 kids missing from this pic). Surely the multiple nannies help, though?

Gwen Stefani- 2 little boys to wrestle with, but Gwen still always finds time to put on her red lipstick and stay looking like a star.

Jennifer Garner- Hands on mom, who seems to care less about Hollywood. She wears baggy jeans and running shoes and her kids look like they wear kids from Target but they have smiles from ear to ear.

Katie may have sold her soul to Scientology but you can't deny that Suri is absolutely adorable.

Brooklyn hipster Maggie Gylenhaal, nursing her baby at an outdoor cafe.

Big sister gift

A friend of mine recently had a 2nd baby. I sent a little gift for her older daughter, as a "big sister" gift. Just wanted to share how cute it is for anyone looking for special gift ideas. It's a sling for baby dolls, so that big sister (or brother) can "wear" her baby just like she sees her mommy do.

I let Juliet "test drive" the sling before I sent it. It was a hit. I am sure this would be an extremely easy home sewing project, but because I am altogether unhandy with a sewing machine, I bought it from Etsy (find it here). 

I think it's a great way to normalize babywearing in our homes. I recently saw a photo of Jennifer Garner's daughter carrying a pretend infant car seat (as the family just recently welcomed a baby). Everything I have seen in the tabloids about this family suggests that Jennifer Garner is a *wonderful* mother, and I can't help but wonder if her little cutie pie Violet might enjoy snuggling her baby doll in a sling more than lugging around that heavy pretend car seat. ;) 

Update: never mind! See, I knew I loved Jennifer Garner. Here's a photo of her younger daughter carrying a baby sling! And that, my friends, is the extent of the celebrity gossip I will write about on this blog. Sorry for the invasion of privacy, Garner/Affleck family! Cute kids, though!

Monday, April 2, 2012

programming note

I am trying out the automatic ad placement that provides. Just for kicks. If it's completely annoying, I'll remove it. Hope it doesn't bug anyone too much- it's just an experiment :)
Moving on...

We are having a relatively peaceful Monday so far. I had a good workout with my Stroller Strides gals, and then afterward Juliet played with all the kids at the park. She is starting to really *play* with the other kids-- today, she gave one of the older kids an enthusiastic high-five after they all ran across the softball field together (lining up together, and repeating, "Ready! Set! Go!").

Audrey's sleep training sucks. Day 2 was just as miserable as Day 1. She cried for over an hour each time she woke up. I layed in bed the whole time and cried. Ugh. I'm still nursing her once at night (11 pm) but cutting out the 2 am and 4 am nursing sessions.  Don't worry, I'm not starving my baby. If you're a sleep training hater, I understand, but this is just what needs to happen for our family at this point. At 7 months +, she can make it from 11 pm til 6 am without nursing once she gets into the habit. But yeah, it pretty much sucks right now. Maybe Day 3 will be smoother.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

it's the little things: sunday edition

This post is supposed to happen on Fridays, oops!

Anyway, it's the little things that happen during the week that make life so sweet. Here are a few scenes from the past week.
Eating broccoli from our garden!

Juliet and her adorable obsession

Juliet even insisted that Audrey wear a pair of her shoes. Nothing cuter than a naked baby wearing enormous shoes.

6:00 am never looked so adorable! Sweet quiet morning with my baby while Gary and Juliet are asleep.

I married a man who loves his children and his dog with everything he's got. I'm lucky.

Picking up shells with Juliet on a blustery day at the beach.

Audrey's first trip to the beach!

A girl and her dog.
(This was a great week, but a tiring one. On an unrelated note, this will be the 2nd night of Audrey's "sleep training", so please wish us all luck. The whole house could use some rest.)